15 Fun Facts About Ferris Bueller's Day Off
In the face of a looming mid-1980s writers strike, John Hughes presented Paramount executive Ned Tanen with a one-sentence pitch: "I want to do this movie about a kid who takes a day off from school and ... that's all I know so far." Hughes wrote the script in six days, with one day to spare. The result was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, another classic teen movie set in Hughes’ favorite fictional town of Shermer, Illinois, which was released on June 11, 1986.
1. ANTHONY MICHAEL HALL BELIEVES THAT JOHN HUGHES WANTED HIM TO PLAY FERRIS.
Anthony Michael Hall told Vanity Fair that his relationship with the director ended rather abruptly following their work together on Weird Science, and after Hall had begun working with other directors. But he believed that Hughes wrote the roles of Duckie in Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller for him. For his part, Hughes said Broderick was the actor he had in mind when writing the screenplay. Casting directors Janet Hirshenson and Jane Jenkins only seriously considered one other actor for the part: John Cusack.
2. EMILIO ESTEVEZ TURNED DOWN THE ROLE OF CAMERON.
Instead it went to Alan Ruck, who turned 30 years old shortly after the film's release.
3. MATTHEW BRODERICK AND ALAN RUCK WERE FRIENDS BEFORE SHOOTING.
Ruck’s agents convinced producers to let the older actor audition when they pointed out that Ruck and Broderick played two characters who were the same age while performing Biloxi Blues on Broadway (Broderick is about six years younger than Ruck.) The two even shared a trailer on the set of Ferris Bueller; Broderick’s trailer was much bigger than Ruck’s, so Ruck just moved into the star’s place.
4. RUCK’S IMPERSONATION OF SLOANE’S FATHER WAS DESIGNED TO MAKE BRODERICK CRACK.
Ruck was doing Broderick’s impression of their Biloxi Blues director Gene Saks, who would at times get “flabbergasted.” As soon as Saks would walk away, Broderick would do an impression of Saks’s rants.
5. MOLLY RINGWALD WANTED TO PLAY SLOANE.
Hughes allegedly told Molly Ringwald that the part wasn’t big enough for her. Hughes wanted an older actress to play Ferris’s girlfriend, and was surprised to discover that Mia Sara was only 18 years old.
6. LOVE WAS IN THE AIR.
Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey (who played Jeanie, Ferris’s sister) got engaged just before the movie's release. Cindy Pickett and Lyman Ward, who played Ferris's parents, met on the set of the movie and eventually got married and had two children.
7. BEN STEIN WAS INITIALLY SUPPOSED TO DO HIS LECTURE OFF-CAMERA.
The student extras laughed so hard that Hughes decided to put Ben Stein in front of the camera for his speech on supply-side economics. Stein himself picked the topic after Hughes asked him to speak about something he knew a lot about. Before he became a familiar movie and television presence, Stein—who is also a lawyer—was a speechwriter for Presidents Nixon and Ford.
8. ROBERT SMITH OF THE CURE WROTE A SONG FOR THE ART MUSEUM SCENE THAT WAS NEVER USED.
After a disagreement between John Hughes and music supervisor David Anderle, Anderle was taken off the project—and Smith’s instrumental number went with him.
9. HUGHES ALSO MANAGED TO ANNOY PAUL MCCARTNEY.
The ex-Beatle complained that the version of “Twist and Shout” in the movie had too much brass in it.
10. BRODERICK COULDN’T DO MOST OF THE CHOREOGRAPHY HE WAS TAUGHT FOR THE PARADE SCENE.
Broderick hurt his knee earlier running through the neighbors's backyards. The random shot of the construction worker dancing in the film was an actual construction worker caught by one of Hughes’s cameras dancing along to the fun. Jennifer Grey didn’t want to miss out on the action, even though Jeanie wasn’t in the scene, so she showed up disguised as an autograph hound with a bouffant wig.
11. THERE’S A REASON BEHIND CAMERON'S DETROIT RED WINGS JERSEY.
For the first 12 years of his life, John Hughes lived in Grosse Pointe, Michigan and loved the local hockey team. Which is why Cameron wears Detroit gear in a Chicago movie.
12. CHARLIE SHEEN REALLY GOT INTO CHARACTER.
He stayed awake for more than two days to achieve his police station look.
13. THE FERRARI WASN'T REAL.
Though it was a Ferrari that Ferris and his friends "borrowed" from Cameron's dad, they weren't cruising around in the real thing. Three replicas of a Ferrari 250GT California Spyder manufactured by Modena were used instead. Replica or not, one of them was sold for $235,000 in 2013.
14. THE CUBS GAME THAT FERRIS ATTENDS AND THE ONE ON THE TV AT THE PIZZA PLACE WERE DIFFERENT GAMES.
Broderick, Ruck, and Sara attended the September 24, 1985 game between the Montreal Expos and the Cubs. The game being broadcast at the pizza place, where Rooney catches a glimpse of the teens, was the June 5, 1985 Braves/Cubs afternoon matchup (the Braves and Expos wore similar-looking road jerseys that season). In his review of the film, Gene Siskel complained that real Chicago kids prefer to sit in the bleachers.
15. AN EARLY SCREENING OF THE FILM WAS "DISASTROUS."
Broderick, Ruck, and Sara saw the movie a few months before its scheduled premiere and didn’t laugh once; they left thinking they had made a bad movie. Paramount executives were similarly unimpressed and concerned when they saw an early cut. Hughes and editor Paul Hirsch then spent two weeks cutting and pasting it into the movie we know (and love) today.